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Peru Without MP and Cuzco

Peru Without MP and Cuzco

Old Dec 7, 2012, 9:27 am
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Peru Without MP and Cuzco

I posted this on another site, got varying responses and am still unsure, so let me try on here:

I was in Ecuador earlier this year and skipped the Galapagos and in Colombia the year before and skipped Cartagena. I didn't feel like I missed out on anything.

I picture MP, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley being overwhelmed with tour buses, travel agencies and backpackers with Lonely Planets in one hand and cigarettes in the other. Am I wrong?

What do you think about skipping the gringo trail and heading up north instead, possibly to Cajamarca or Huaraz and seeing the mountains, smaller towns, lakes, etc... and meeting the locals? It will be my first time in Peru and I'll have probably 8 or 9 days.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 11:07 am
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If it doesn't interest you, it doesn't interest you. So be it. That's fine.

Time of year? Huaraz's high season runs about May-September. Many tourist places close there during the rest of the year.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 12:45 pm
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Time of year will be mid-May.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 12:58 pm
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Then Huaraz is a good choice. The place caters to the outdoors/hiking/climbing crowd. It has that kind of vibe. They come when the weather is best, in other words, May through September. Lodgings and restaurants will all be open. But going back to concerns you voice in your original post, it's not so crowded that you just want to flee. It doesn't get anywhere near the number of visitors that Cusco/MP/SV do.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 3:19 pm
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Thanks SJO. And for cultural sites around there?
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 3:56 pm
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Unfortunately almost all the tourists travel only to Southern Peru although there are many interesting archeological sites in Northern Peru and none of them are too touristic if you avoid Holy Week&Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day in July).

Day trip to Chavin (~3 hours from Huaraz) can be done easily from Huaraz and there are also some archeological sites in Cajamarca. If you have time, I would recommend travelling to coastal city of Trujillo. The architecture is beautiful in downtown and there are many impressive and important archeological sites very close to the city. Chan Chan & Huaca de la Luna y Sol can be visited easily during the same day. Chiclayo is another coastal town with important archeological sights (moche museum in Lambayeque, Ferrenafe etc) nearby. If you had more time, Chachapoyas would be interesting option (impressive sights, very few tourists).

For planning your schedule I would recommend investigating the transportation options between Cajamarca & Huaraz. My last trip to Cajamarca was ~3 years so my information can be out of date but you might have to travel via the coast...

Last edited by miikkak; Dec 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 7:25 pm
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I think I have posted in the past about different places of Peru.. "beyond Machu Picchu".

Cusco and MP is worthwhile even if it's crowded. But Peru has lot of beautiful or interesting places. Of course it depends on what you like or looking for (surf, jungle, trekking, archeology, bird watching.. the list is long!). My point is.. even though Cusco is the best, a trip to Peru without MP or Cusco is still great.

Cajamarca has been complicated this year because of social troubles (mining conflicts), but it's beautiful. Though Huaraz valley is my favorite. Lot of hidden lagoons, trekking, ancient ruins, snowy mountains.

This website posts interesting travel articles. Check it!
http://www.peruthisweek.com/travel/


I've been in lot of places of Peru so feel free to ask (I'm in Tumbes beaches, north coast, right now )
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 2:40 pm
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Hi Villavic,

I was just going to PM you re "beyond MP". My own travel pattern has changed over the past 12 months so have not been back to South America at all. Planning a trip Peru again (personal) sometime Mar/Apr next year and thinking about Paracas as well as Arequipa. Hard to find any info on Paracas and it doesn't seem as popular?

Any thoughts you care to share on Paracas appreciated.

Cheers,
SF
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 7:02 am
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Paracas is popular, specially among peruvians, though I have found several foreign travelers on both occasions I was there. But never crowded of foreign people like Cusco (just in case if you are running from, like trebex ).

Here are some articles:
Paracas, Ica

I'm planning to go again to Paracas in february or late january (after 10 years). After the 2007 earthquake it appeared several nice new hotels and resorts, like the DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Paracas or the San Agustin Paracas Playa. The Hotel El Mirador and Hostal Santa Maria Paracas look cheaper and good, too, but of course smaller and simple. Though I have not been in or visited any of those yet, you must do a research before. But visiting Paracas in march and april is a good option, the sun is still shining in the peruvian coast. Some hotels and agencies arrange flights to the Nazca lines, too.

Beyond being a natural reserve (birds, sea lions, desert, etc.), Paracas is the site where a pre-inca culture emerged, well known for their looms and cranial trepanations.

And another interesting place is Tambo Colorado, an archaeological site 45km away from Pisco/Paracas. It's from the Incas time, and one of the best preserved archaeological sites in peruvian coast. Also known in quechua as Pukallaqta (Red town), it contains buildings of ceremonial plazas, houses, ceremonial platforms, and the main building known as La Fortaleza.

Not far from Paracas is Ica town (I visited last year). From Ica there are several tours of pisco cellars (La ruta del Pisco). Also the dunes are the favorite places for sandboarders and sand buggy rides. So there are several options to do in Ica Region (Ica, Paracas, Pisco, Chincha, Nazca).

Here is more info. You don't need to reserve tours previously, it's easy to take any ride just when you arrive there (but if you look for a nice hotel or resort, it's better to reserve few weeks before).

Ica info

La Ruta del Pisco
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by trebex
Thanks SJO. And for cultural sites around there?
Not around Huaraz but still (and more) northern Peru is Lambayeque Region, where Chiclayo city is, and that's where the Seor de Sipan was found. The famous Tumbas Reales (Royal Tombs) museum contains a beautiful and interesting collection of treasures from that finding.

If you are interested in this, I suggest you go to Trujillo (La Libertad region), where there are several archeological sites too (Huaca de la Luna, gorgeous!!, Dama de Cao, huaca el Brujo). Actually the idea is to do the MOCHE route. The Moche is the culture where the the Seor de Sipan belongs to.

Check this info:
La ruta Moche

And mid may is good weather for visiting Chiclayo and Trujillo. You may find sunny days, specially in Chiclayo, and the heat is not so strong.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Villavic
Paracas is popular, specially among peruvians, though I have found several foreign travelers on both occasions I was there. But never crowded of foreign people like Cusco (just in case if you are running from, like trebex ).
Thanks Villavic!

Yup, the primary reasons that I'm attracted there are 1) natural reserve, 2) Nazca lines, and 3) not crowded!

Maybe if you don't mind, you can post some additional info after your trip in early 2013. Thanks.

Nah, not running away per se ... I can get pretty tanned ... and have been mistaken for a local after many days on the trail ...

Cheers,
SF
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 9:57 am
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It is a tough choice. How about spending 5-6 days in Arequipa and the surroundings? Is there enough to do?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by trebex
It is a tough choice. How about spending 5-6 days in Arequipa and the surroundings? Is there enough to do?
Including Colca valley? Yes, I think 5 days would be enough. 6 days? Maybe including the Majes valley (never been there), famous by its shrimps, pisco cellars, and witches legends. I've read there are tours that include this valley and Cotahuasi canyon, with stops in Pallarcocha lagoon, views of the Coropuna and Solimana snowy mountains, and some vicunas reserve, yareta flowers, etc.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by trebex
It is a tough choice. How about spending 5-6 days in Arequipa and the surroundings? Is there enough to do?
You want to avoid backpackers with Lonely Planets in one hand and cigarettes in the other so you avoid MP but want to go to Arequipa/Colca? Chevre.

Since your stated criteria is to avoid places packed with smoking gringos, then the advice upthread about going north is spot on. Trujillo with huancas, Chiclayo-Lambayeque with Sipan, pyramids, Cajamarca with Kuelap fort, Gotga falls, even Ayabaca with Aypate the Machu Pichu of the north, northern beaches. For Frommers toting tourists (remember Peru is a tourist destination for Peruvians too, but they don't need Lonely Planet) then think that MP has 4000 tourists a day, Kuelap fort 4000 a year and Ayapate inca site 4 per week. Of course, in terms of impressiveness, MP is most impressive, Kuelap less impressive and Ayapte even less impressive. So the more impressive the site, the more toursists with Lonely Planets in one hand and cigarettes in the other. Funny how it works that way.

By the way, you missed something when you missed Cartagena, it is special and worth visiting.
.
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Old May 8, 2013, 4:40 am
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If you want to avoid MP and Cuzco I've had people recommend the Nazca lines, apparently there aren't as many tourists there

Last edited by roryschultze; May 16, 2013 at 10:12 am Reason: updated information
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